Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Sep 29;112(39):E5420-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1515369112. Epub 2015 Aug 24.

Role of activating transcription factor 3 in the synthesis of latency-associated transcript and maintenance of herpes simplex virus 1 in latent state in ganglia.

Author information

Marjorie B. Kovler Viral Oncology Laboratories, The University of Chicago, Chicago IL 60637.
Marjorie B. Kovler Viral Oncology Laboratories, The University of Chicago, Chicago IL 60637


A key property of herpes simplex viruses (HSVs) is their ability to establish latent infection in sensory or autonomic ganglia and to reactivate on physical, hormonal, or emotional stress. In latently infected ganglia, HSVs express a long noncoding RNA, a latency-associated transcript (LAT), which plays a key role in maintaining latently infected neurons, but not viral proteins. To investigate the events leading to reactivation, we examined the use of ganglionic organ cultures that enable rapid reactivation in medium containing antibody to nerve growth factor (NGF) or delayed reactivation in medium containing NGF and epidermal growth factor (EGF). Here we report the discovery that activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3), a stress response protein, profoundly affects the interaction of HSV with its host. Specifically, (i) ATF3 is induced by stress, such as inhibition of protein synthesis or infection; (ii) in infected cells, ATF3 enhances the accumulation of LAT by acting on the response elements in the promoter of the LAT precursor RNA; (iii) ATF3 is induced nearly 100-fold in ganglionic organ cultures; and (iv) ATF3 plays a key role in the maintenance of the latent state, inasmuch as expression of ATF3 bereft of the C-terminal activation domain acts as a dominant negative factor, inducing HSV gene expression in ganglionic organ cultures harboring latent virus and incubated in medium containing NGF and EGF. Thus, ATF3 is a component of a cluster of cellular proteins that together with LAT maintain the integrity of the neurons harboring latent virus.


adenylate-uridylate–rich mRNA; reactivation; stress response

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center